Columbus business combats unemployment issue

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, January 31, 2013

Darla Kleiner (center) leads medical certification classes from the WNC Edutech office in Columbus.

Polk unemployment rises to 7.8 percent in December

Focusing in the realms of healthcare, one Columbus business initiated an effort a year and a half ago to provide education for people on the brink of losing their jobs, as well as those aspiring to advance their careers.

WNC Edutech owners Michael and Darla Kleiner teach courses in a variety of healthcare topics, as well as information technology.

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“We consider our company more of our mission in life,” Michael said.

Darla agreed that their efforts to increase the education level of healthcare workers in Polk and surrounding counties is rooted in wanting to help people improve their lives.

“We’re not a non-profit but we try and meet the individual where they are to get them employed,” she said. “Our main objective is to upgrade skills so these people can find work.”

Polk County’s unemployment rate fluctuated near the end of 2012, dipping as low as 6.8 percent in October and jumping back to 7.8 percent by December.

For the end of the year, that meant 720 individuals out of Polk’s 9,254-member workforce were out of jobs. The Kleiners said the majority of students who come through their doors do so because changes in requirements might cause them to no longer qualify for their position or because they need a better paying job to support their family.